Sunday, December 09, 2007

Sharif to Participate In Pakistan Election

Terrible news for Pakistan. But this is the result Musharraf flew to Saudi Arabia to bring about. The biggest villain in the story here is Musharraf. Sharif and Bhutto are each in a position that while both together could weaken Musharraf, maybe fatally, neither can alone. Sharif says he tried to convince Bhutto do join a boycott. Bhutto has not denied it to my knowledge. Here is a report.

The party of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced Sunday that it would participate in Pakistan's parliamentary elections next month after failing to convince rival Benazir Bhutto to join a boycott.

Greater participation will make the balloting look more open, bolstering President Pervez Musharraf's democratic credentials, which took a hit over his Nov. 3 declaration of a state of emergency and his dismissal of independent-minded judges.

Without assurances that a boycott would not happen, Musharraf would not have brought Sharif back. So he had to be confident that at least one would participate. Maybe that confidence came from Bhutto, maybe it came from a commitment from Sharif that he would end up participating at the last minute.

There will be later fights though. In the meantime it is important for everyone involved who understands to say publicly that there is nothing worse a country's leadership can do to the country than fail to follow pre-determined rules for the succession of power.

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